iMac 2011 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 review for photographers
I am a PC user and have been for most of my life. The only apple product I own is an iPhone. My PC has had over $4000 in upgrades over the past 5 years and it seems like it never stops I always need more memory or faster processor etc. I got ticked off and two weeks ago I purchased a brand new built to order iMac, I found a big lack of reviews on the new iMacs so I figured I would write and help some of you out. I went with the 3.4GHz Quad Core instead of the 3.1GHz because of the hyper-threading ability on the i7 3.4GHz which simply means it has virtual cores that act as an 8 core system vs. true 4 cores, which is much, much faster. I decided to go with 2x4GB of RAM as $600 for 16GB of RAM was a ridicules price to pay. It came with some knock off brand RAM I have never heard of. I decided to go over to CanadaRAM.com and purchase 4X4GB of RAM for $140 with shipping and all and did the install myself. It was fairly easy as you only had to remove 3 screws and pull a tab to remove the old RAM, this does not void your warranty and this is why I went ahead with upgrading it myself at less than ¼ of the price from Apple.
Due to me using this iMac only for my photography I figured I would go all out and get the rest of their options. So the specs are as follows;
3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
16GB RAM from CanadaRAM.com
2TB Serial ATA Drive
AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB
This thing is blazing fast! I start up in less than 12 seconds with my Solid State Drive. I have 2TB of memory from the other HDD and also purchased a Drobo as Raid1 for my backups. I have Microsoft office installed, photoshop, lightroom, aperture, and PhaseOne all for my photography, as well as a few other Adobe products. (Not showing off just giving you an idea of the programs I run on this thing)
With that said, I started up all of my programs all at once, everything installed from the factory plus the programs I have added, and within 35seconds they were all up and running ready to operate. I have no regrets what so ever this is a blazing fast computer. I have loaded about a gig worth of photos on there already and it is still flawless. When importing photos into lightroom it loads the thumbnails very quickly and efficiently without any lag.
Using photoshop and lightroom,
I use a Wacom Intous 4 medium for my editing and on the PC no matter how fast I got it to be or what was running it seemed like it was lagging all the time the brush strokes on the intous were not responsive as fast and it increased editing time. With the iMac it is instant and flawless.
From a PC user I give the Mac two thumbs up, I am very glad I made the switch and it has been a breeze so far.
I doubt I will ever go back to PC after 20 some years using one. The iMac is so much more slick and flawless and it is not a pig on memory. Yes I know they are marked up etc. but if you went and priced out a PC and compared it to the iMac it would be a little more $$$. I chose the mac because I love the workflow and have wanted to switch for years as I was not happy with dumping more and more money into my PC.
•IMac, 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2TB Serial ATA Drive, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB